FARGO — Picture the waiting room from your childhood dentist. Chances are, there might be colorful walls and magazines to pass the time. A fish tank or a big piece of art to gaze into while having your teeth examined.

Artist Hope Thier remembers a poster with a sea of wild flowers.

"I would stare at it while they work on my teeth and just think, 'I want to be there.'" she says.

Now with the chance to make memories for many others, Thier’s colorful nature-inspired art lines the walls of Vetter Dental, 1331 32nd Ave. S., in Fargo. She says patients "want to see something colorful and familiar — comforting," and that’s just what they'll get with a lineup of animals layered with texture.

There’s a loose sketchy impression of a 12-point buck greeting people at the entrance. A big open-mouthed bass hangs at the end of a hallway. Not to mention an eagle, bison, bumblebee, robin or a monarch behind the front desk.

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A painting of a bass by Hope Thier is featured at the end of a hallway inside Vetter Dental. Ethan Mickelson / The Arts Partnership
A painting of a bass by Hope Thier is featured at the end of a hallway inside Vetter Dental. Ethan Mickelson / The Arts Partnership

Thier is a contemporary artist with memorable works featuring figures like a giant T-rex bathed in vibrant hues. Her work ranges from sharp forms to almost completely abstract, but always has a relatable touch.

"It's amazing that we can have these beautiful pieces of work that are crafted in our own backyard in Fargo," says Austin Vetter, owner of the family dentistry practice.

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His patients appreciate the color, and so do the staff. With employees spending a fourth of their time within the office walls, it’s important they feel a connection to the space.

Hope Thier’s work has been featured throughout Fargo, with works popping up in breweries and restaurants. Ethan Mickelson / The Arts Partnership
Hope Thier’s work has been featured throughout Fargo, with works popping up in breweries and restaurants. Ethan Mickelson / The Arts Partnership

A local art installation program called ArtWORKS from The Arts Partnership installs these dynamic exhibits throughout the Fargo-Moorhead metro area, cycling through work regularly.

"Sometimes we look at art and we think of it as this distant thing," Vetter says. "ArtWORKS is about appreciating the local arts."

Greeted by a colorful deer with antlers, patients are immediately greeted by color when they walk into the waiting room. Ethan Mickelson / The Arts Partnership
Greeted by a colorful deer with antlers, patients are immediately greeted by color when they walk into the waiting room. Ethan Mickelson / The Arts Partnership

For the staff at Vetter Dental, there’s twice the fun because they get to see the work go up and appreciate it every day, but also get a fresh perspective from patients every day.

"You should see us — we get so excited on art day when we get new art," Brittany Grunig says at the front desk.

Other locations hosting ArtWORKS include eateries like Nichole’s Fine Pastry and Luna Fargo, or financial centers like Choice Bank, all showing some of the region's finest creativity. The program also includes interactive elements, like art-making activities where staff get hands-on help.

New additions to the program this year included mini concerts in December from local musicians at Fargo's Hector International Airport.

The Arts Partnership runs ArtWORKS, a program that works with businesses to install dynamic exhibits of local and regional artwork. Ethan Mickelson / The Arts Partnership
The Arts Partnership runs ArtWORKS, a program that works with businesses to install dynamic exhibits of local and regional artwork. Ethan Mickelson / The Arts Partnership

Learn more

Find out more about ArtWORKS at theartspartnership.net/artworks/ or by calling 701-237-6133.

This article is part of a content partnership with The Arts Partnership, a nonprofit organization cultivating the arts in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. For more information, visit http://theartspartnership.net.